North East MSP hits out at ‘Police Scotland’ merger

A North East MSP has attacked the recent merger of eight Scottish Police forces.

Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes has repeated her opposition to the move, lamenting “the demise of local policing in Scotland”.

The changes came into effect on April 1, when the eight constabularies were replaced with a single service, Police Scotland, which is now the second-largest force in the UK, after the Metropolitan Police in London. The restructured Scottish Fire and Rescue Service also launched on April 1.

Commenting, Alison McInnes said: “That vital link between police officers and the local community has been put in jeopardy so that there can be political control by the Justice Secretary.”

Mrs McInnes, who is an Ellon-based MSP and also her party’s justice spokesperson, continued: “For Scottish Liberal Democrats, the question at the heart of the reform debate has always been should our police services be run locally, guided by democratically elected representatives, with checks and balances to prevent the abuse of the singular powers that any police force has, or should it be run nationally by unelected people appointed by the government of the day?

“The SNP Government has chosen to turn its back on a system where police chiefs are appointed by locally-elected representatives; where police actions are scrutinised by locally-elected representatives; where the culture, policing priorities and budgets are managed by locally-elected members.”

“Instead, all those things will be done by the Scottish Police Authority - an unelected board, appointed on the say-so of Scottish Ministers: 13 unelected people to hold one Scotland-wide force to account, 13 unelected people to oversee a budget of around £1 billion a year,” she added.